With an incredible amount of pro models under his belt, everyone's favorite OG, Josh Kalis, is debuting his tenth pro model for DC Shoes. There aren't too many notable pros who can say they have had over five, let along ten, pro models with one brand, but Kalis is one of the few. With his new pro model, the Wolf, debuting in 2015, we had to ask him about why his Centric left so soon, the current state of skate footwear, and some theories of his.
Words By Jeremy Lugo / rippedlaces.com
Photo By Mikey Gould
Being a person who's never strayed away from the truth, what are your current feelings with the state of skate footwear today?
Ahh, I feel like there's actually a turning point where some people are trying to get out of the "everything looks the same" vibe. I feel like for a while, everything looked the same. It was black shoe with a white sole. No one cared about what their laces looked like and wanted to show their ankles off as a result. It's at a turning point now where people care about what their shoes look like.
How is your new shoe from DC [the Wolf] going to be that perfect in-between?
With the Centric, it was so thin that you got everything you needed out of it. Now, being from an older generation of skaters that are used to skating a sturdier shoe, the Centric didn't do it for me after three or four sessions. That sturdiness wasn't there for me, so that's one of the things that we did with the Wolf. With the Wolf, we made it last way longer. Basically, the Wolf came about because the designers at DC took different elements from some of my favorite pro models and combined them into the Wolf. As soon as I saw them, I immediately fell in love. Like, no joke. It got to the point where I only had one sample pair and I was ready for a new pair and none of the samples weren't in yet, so I was like, "I guess I can't skate anymore then." In my opinion, they're that good.
Your skate models have always been known to personify you better than any other professional skateboarder ever. Within seconds of looking at any of your shoes, people just know that it's yours. How do you do that?
What myself and the DC designers try to do is match whatever world I'm currently living in. I always try to have more of an East Coast/urban aesthetic. There's always something in that world, at any given time that I love, and I put it into the shoe with what's relevant to me. It all goes back to the clothes that I wear, even to the car that I drive. It has to match my aesthetic. I just try to stay one step ahead of the game.
Why did the Centric get the boot after two or three years? It was practically flawless with that perfect vamp and in bringing back the airbag...
To tell you the honest truth, I was surprised to see it around for that long. Typically, a shoe these days is only around for so long if it isn't a hit immediately. The Centric came out around the time that a lot of changes were happening at DC. It was around the time that we were bringing on Nyjah [Huston], Mikey [Taylor], and Mike Mo. We were all so busy with those new riders that the Centric went under the radar a little bit, but I thought it was dope. Essentially, the Centric gained its own following organically and I loved that. Especially when kids hit me up on Instagram with their posts about skating them and how much they love them. I'm glad the Centric stood around for as long as is it did, but at the same time, I'm excited about releasing the Wolf.
When creating the Wolf, did you have any ideas for the design team that they couldn't include?
Yeah, you know what? Everything that I wanted in terms of technology and performance went into the Wolf, but it's upgraded with materials that I didn't even know about. But yes, there are elements that they couldn't include. It's my tenth shoe, so it's kinda like a milestone for me, but I didn't question it because the Wolfs are that dope. I wasn't disappointed, but there were certain hits or design elements that they couldn't included but I'm gonna push it for the future. There's a project that I got approached with that's the motherfucking shoe with all the bells and whistles that I wanted, but I can't talk about it right now. It's fucking illmatic. It doesn't come out for another year, but that's all I can say about it.
Are there any other models you skate? Like, is there another model that you're looking forward to with what DC has to offer for 2015?
Not really. I'm kinda fickle about changing my board size or shoe model. Although, Matt Miller came by the other day with his shoe on, the new army green and orange colorway. Now I'm not gonna say I was jealous [laughs], but those look so dope. They're so badass looking, and I'd probably skate in those.
More from the 2015 Footwear Guide